Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

The Abortion Question (Part I)


Just this last week there has been a great deal of chatter around the wordpress blogs regarding a story posted by Mr. Daniel Florien titled “How to Stump Anti-Abortionists with one Question” Over 950 comments on the original post and dozens and dozens of follow up posts on other blogs.  At first I didn’t want to get involved, as most of the people I write this for probably won’t even have noticed any of the discussion going on.  But sometimes God has other plans.  Over the past five days since I read that first post, I have been faced with the discussion of Abortion again and again, seemingly at every turn.  It may have taken me a while to clue in, but I think I got the point finally.

So here, then are some thoughts I have on the issue of  Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice, in two parts.  In this first part I will answer the question to stump anti-abortionists (and others like it).  In the second I will give you a very near and dear personal story and ask a question of my own.

The question laid before those opposed to abortion was this:

If abortion was illegal, what should be done with the women who have illegal abortions?

Now watch their faces as the cognitive dissonance sets in. They believe abortion to be murder. Murder deserves severe punishment. Thus, women who have illegal abortions should receive severe punishment — like life in prison or the death penalty. That’s the logical conclusion.

But they can’t accept this conclusion. They know it’s absurd and unfair — which means they know abortion is not really murder.

Following this is a video of some poor protesters being hit with this question they are simply  unprepared for.  I feel sorry for them, but I do not blame them for their trouble in answering  because it (like most arguments against pro-lifers) is not really a fair question.  It paints them into a corner that isn’t really there.  Here’s what I mean.

First the question throws the pro-lifer off balance because it accuses them of wanting to ‘unfairly’ (and yes this is implied in the question) take the life of someone else.  In essence it is presented in such a way as to say “Oh yeah?  You’re no better yourself … maybe even worse … you killer!”

Secondly, it is an unfair question because it begs the question.  What I mean is that it begins with an asssumption of truth that is at the heart of the debate between pro-life and pro-choice.  It begins with the assumption that the fetus in question isn’t really alive, or at least not really human.  How can I say this?  Consider the question with just a little change in wording and you will see what I mean …

What if terminating the life of a toddler was illegal?  What should be done with the women who have done it?  Not such a morally hard question anymore is it?  What about terminating the life of a teenager, fireman, senator, housewife, pro-choice advocate, retiree?  No morally grey area there either.  The question in question therefore is only morally ambiguous IF what a pregnant woman carries in her womb is not really a human being.

And this is the question at the heart of the debate.  Not whether it is a right of choice.  Not how, when, or if abortionists should be punished or not.  But whether this unborn life is human or not.  This, is the real question to be asked and answered.  This is the one question that the pro-abortion side is forever trying to dodge, or re-write, or simply ignore, because they know that to truly, honestly, answer this question will re-write the whole debate.

For more insight into how to respond to abortionists and pro-choice advocates I highly recommend you go to Issues Etc and listen to the series “Five Bad ways to Argue about Abortion” with Scott Klusendorf

Here is just one of the five part series:

Bad Ways to Argue About Abortion: Assume What You Are Trying to Prove

Author: kenmaher

When I'm not working I enjoy Astronomy, Camping, Comic Books, Epic Fantasy Novels, Games (both playing and designing), Hiking, Juggling, Sci-fi, and building strange things out of pvc pipe. I also enjoy being an honorary pre-schooler with my four great children ... much to their mother's dismay.

6 thoughts on “The Abortion Question (Part I)

  1. Fantastic read! Thank you for posting this, I never would have heard about that article otherwise. If you haven’t already seen it I recommend that you watch Volition It is incredibly powerful and moving, and speaks to what you are posting about. God Bless! Keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks for pointing out the first assumption the pro-abortion people make, that the pre-born child is not a child. Each child is indeed a miracle, although the regular occurrence (planned or unplanned) of this miracle may make us blind to it. Of course, there are those out there who will argue that perhaps there are times to terminate some of those other people you’ve mentioned (also very scary). May God guide us as we face these challenges!

  3. Thank you for this Ken – I enjoyed hearing your perspective and think it is one much needed today!

  4. Thanks everyone. Eric, thanks for the link to Volition – you are right it is very powerful. I will certainly be making use of this again (though not likely in too many arguments with pro-choicers … make the connection to slavery and eugenics – true though it is – and the conversation tends to be over without ever getting anywhere meaningful. This is a very good resource for those who are sitting on the fence or who generally have an open mind to the deeper implications of what this “choice” really means!)

    Tracey I also (sadly) agree that once we get past the debate on what is truly human life or not, then we will still have to debate what makes human life “valuable” or not, (and it has nothing to do with function!) But not to fear, for this second question is not any harder to discuss than the first! The only trick is to not let yourself be bullied by unspoken assumptions.

    Again, thanks all!

  5. Pingback: “The Pain of Abortion” « This Time Tomorrow

  6. Pingback: A Little Healthy Reflection « HOPE for the HAPLESS

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